In a bid to
end the bane of power outages
even at a time of surplus production, the government will bring in a law to
penalise distribution companies in the event of their indulging in
"gratuitous load-shedding", Power Minister R.K. Singh said on
Briefing reporters during a break in the meeting with state Power Ministers
here, Singh said such penalties are part of a road map being prepared by the
government to fulfill its vision of providing uninterrupted electricity for
"In line with the government's vision of providing 24X7 power for
all by March 2019, a road map has been laid out.
"We will make it a legal obligation that if after 2019 there is any
gratuitous load shedding, that is not caused by acts of god or technical
issues, the discom will be penalised," he said.
The Union Minister said that the ethical obligation of the discom as the sole
license holder to provide uninterrupted power would now be made into an
enforceable service obligation by introducing in the Electricity Act, 2003,
such a penalty for outages without good reason.
To gear up to meet the demand of uninterrupted power for all, the system needs
to be strengthened on all sides, he said.
Singh said that changes were being proposed to the Act to remove human
interface in billing, metering and collections by introducing prepaid systems
that would help poor consumers and smart metering, as well as cap the
permissible limit for factoring in discom losses in the tariff policy.
"There will be no system of manual meter reading. We will do away with
human interface and the consumer will pay via mobile for as much power that he
"Besides, it will be mandated that discoms cannot pass on the billing losses to consumers. We are
discussing with the regulators that after 2019, the percentage of loss
permissible to be accounted for in the tariff cannot exceed 15 per cent,"
On the question of subsidies, it has been decided to do away "with the
current huge number of slabs and reduce it to around 15."
"Cross subsidies in the tariff policy will be phased out gradually bring
it down to 20 per cent in the first phase," the Minister said, adding that
power must be made available to industry at a reasonable cost to ensure the
success of the 'Make in India' programme